PARIS — Thales delivered in February a first series-production RBE2 active electronically scanned array radar to Dassault Aviation for the Rafale fighter jet, the electronics company said in a March 29 statement.
“In February, Thales delivered the first series-produced RBE2 radar with active electronically scanned array (AESA) to the Dassault Aviation facility in Mérignac, France,” the company said.
An active scanned radar is considered to be essential to selling a modern combat aircraft in export markets.
“The radar will now be installed on the Rafale C137, the first Rafale with this new capability, which is scheduled for delivery to the French defense procurement agency (DGA) this summer,” Thales said.
“The Rafale will be the only European combat aircraft under full-scale production with an active-array radar,” the company said.
France in the last decade diverted money from ordering Rafales to spend on the development of the AESA radar, which will be fitted as standard on the fourth tranche of 60 Dassault aircraft ordered in 2009.
A Thales executive estimated in July 2010 that the entry into production of AESA radars was the fruit of more than 10 years’ work and 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) of government and company investment.
A first delivery of initial low-rate production radars began in 2010.
The RBE2 radar is intended to boost the Rafale’s range, interception capabilities, its tracking abilities in a multithreat environment, and to improve its countermeasures.
The radar’s other benefits include allowing the Rafale to be armed with the MBDA Meteor long-range missile, which is still under development, along with its high reliability and greater resistance to jamming.